Driver distractions: Study shows how smartphones keep our eyes off the road

Source: Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers

While smartphones are helping us stay connected like we’ve never been before, it’s quickly becoming a big problem for driving distracted.

In an interesting study done by the auto industry’s top lobbying group, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, 5,000 car owners were polled about their driving habits and the numbers reiterate the fact that our increasing attachment to smartphones is simply not safe behind the wheel.

Some stats: More than 90 percent of smartphone users keep their phone in their hand, lap, cup holder or on the passenger’s seat and 61 percent check their phone every hour during the day. While driving, 67 percent of drivers use GPS, 54 percent make calls, 33 percent access the web and 30 percent e-mail or text message.

The study also found that 45 percent of smartphone users would bring a portable device (phone or GPS) into the car if there was a government ban of in-vehicle technology.

It’s further proof that smartphones are undoubtedly causing problems on the road. This is a new dilemma for auto makers that are trying to keep up with consumer demand for in-car connectivity but also handle concerns from top politicians to end distracted driving.

Talking on a handheld cell phone is banned in 10 states, while texting is banned in 39 states. Both laws are active in Washington, which was the first state to ban text messaging while driving back in 2007.

You can land a $124 fine in this state if found driving distracted because of your cell phone. According to the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, use of wireless devices contributed to 1,300 crashes from 2006 to 2010.

Texting while driving is actually a whole lot worse than drunk driving. The WTC says those who text and drive are six times more likely to be in an accident than a drunk driver.

One local startup, Text No More, is trying to stop teenagers from using their phones on the road and founder Rodney Stearns won the elevator pitch grand prize at GeekWire’s Fall Meetup in October. We also recently wrote about Verizon’s new campaign with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson to help curb texting and driving.

GeekWire columnist Monica Guzman explored the problem earlier this year in this popular post, while the idea of punishing texting while walking has also made headlines.

Finally, here’s a cool infographic from Hardison Wood showing the effects of driving while distracted:

Previously on GeekWire: Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson teams with Verizon to stop texting and driving

  • Steve

    This is a big “duh” study. Anyone who thinks they can use a phone while driving and not be distracted is too distracted to even make a good judgement of that.
    Not sayin’ they’re not useful. Not sayin’ they save time. Sayin’ it increases the liklihood you will cause or be involved in an accident.

  • Mike_Acker

    yep, and let’s not forget the computer console the manufactureres are installing these days. you should be able to operate the console by touch.